Rape – The Archaic Perception!

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Rape – The Archaic Perception!

Nine months after the gangrape and brutal murder of 23 year old Nirbhaya,a Special Court sentenced capital punishment to the four convicts. Nirbhaya’s mother expressed satisfaction over the verdict. “Halak mein saans atki thi, jo ab bahar nikli hai. Mein dhanywaad karti hu desh ke logon ka aur media ka’ (We were waiting with bated breath, now we are relieved. I thank the people of my country and the media)”.

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While I am happy that the above four are sentenced to death (though I’d personally have preferred punishments like castrations/flogging etc), what aggravates and affronts me is the fact that the juvenile, the one who caused Nirbhaya the MOST harm is the one sentenced to 3 years in remand. If the guy had the mindset to be able to rape and abuse a person to such an extent, he is most certainly NOT a juvenile. It’s high time the government starts developing a mindset to sentence people based on their crimes, not on their age.

The Rape Culture

Yesterday, we had a discussion in college about this entire “rape culture” that has been prevalent in India over the many years. Many of my friends expressed their views and I can’t help but express a bit of my opinions. What is giving rise to these countless number of rape cases in India? As someone raised abroad, I find it appalling that while the rest of the world is become more progressive and liberal, women in India are still fighting for basic dignity and survival. What is the cause -the man’s inability to control his physical desires? His insecurity and inferiority complex leading them destroy women thereby proving their own so-called “manliness”?  Or is it simply the lack of respect for women?

The Blame Game

Some of the great leaders in the country have pin-pointed at the victim saying, “She shouldn’t have dressed in a certain way” or “She shouldn’t have gone out alone at that time”. Why is there a rampant “do not get raped” culture instead of “do not rape”? Don’t we as women, have the right to live a fearless life, to go out at whatever time at we want and where what we want?

Yes, rape is a problem that no country has totally eradicated. Yes, we can never eliminate them, but can we hope to make them a rarity, at least? I am honestly shocked that there is large section of people in the Indian society who still think that rape is seriously about caution and precaution. Why is there such an astounding, regressive and archaic view on rape?

Simply put, rape is committed by men who know that they can make excuses and get away with the crime. Please, let us not further enable them by victim blaming.

nirbhayaI understand as individuals, we are responsible for our own safety. Teaching women self-defense is good and necessary – but that is like treating the symptom and not the disease. If you want rapes to stop – teach your MEN first. Enforcing ethics about safety, caution, modesty or dignity should be equally imposed on both genders. If you are going to ask women not to step out of the house after 9 pm, why not rather mandate all men to stay inside home after 9 pm?

I have had arguments with people before and although nobody will say it outright, they will package it in euphemisms like “she should have shown more caution”.

What precaution? How much precaution? How careful is careful? What should a dead body do to protect itself from rape? Auto-combust upon death? What should an eighty year old widow do to protect herself from rape – commit sati?

When it comes to rape, the question of what could the victim have done otherwise should never ever cross our minds. The only questions should be how do we punish the rapists? How do we prevent rapists from making a joke of the legal system? How can we ensure that our streets are safe for everyone at all time of the day? Why talk of precautions on women’s side? We don’t want prevention, we want CURE. If we stay stuck at precautionary level we would stay there forever. I fear anything much, except rapes, will happen if this precautionary mentality gets inherited.

Being vigilant does not guarantee safety.

Guys – as women most of us are well aware of the risks of being raped. We know certain areas and places are not safe. Most of us do put in an effort into being safe and not being stupid. No woman wants to be belligerent, insensible, stupid and get raped. In fact, most women who were raped didn’t do anything out of the ordinary to put themselves at risk.

I am not in denial of reality – yes, there can never be a “perfect” society but my questions is, when will the society wake up and actually try to change things? When will the society decide that we need to make it safer because at least sometime in the future, some generation of women will have the freedom?

Finally, the biggest thing that pisses me off at a personal level is saying “she could have been safer” after the rape has happened. There is nothing more insensitive and ignorant than that. I can understand someone telling me “don’t do something, – it is risky”. But you never ever tell a rape victim “I told you so”. It should only be about how to punish the criminals and how to prevent men from raping. Discussing what she could have done differently is just demeaning and insulting to the victim, no matter how well the intention.

I agree that it makes sense to take every possible precaution to avert any mishap, at the same time it should be clear that any breach in precaution must not be taken as a justification to commit a crime which is what appears to be happening a lot in India! Being vigilant does not guarantee safety.

A Cultural Problem

Rape is not a cultural problem. It happens worldwide, over culture on different pretexts.  It is  a human problem. The point is that we talk of how women are perceived in India. We talk of empowerment of women but in reality we all have regressive mindset. 99.9% females in India do not lead lives of their own and simply follow family or social diktat.  A double standard culture and a phony morality where woman are considered as properties or commodities. The society needs courage to create a revolution in the minds of women and men about the respective perception of females.

The resolution

Stricter punishments, fast-track cases and a change in mentality. Respect for women, respect for people in general and for the country you are living in – need to be instilled in every individual. When does it end? Honestly, I don’t have an answer. I am pinning my hopes on revolutionary technology.

This article has 21 comments

  1. It isn’t our fault road accidents happen. However, if you go out, there is a greater chance you get into a road accident than if you stay in. Conclusion – stay inside the house. Otherwise, while it’s not your fault the accident occurred, you still could be blamed for increasing the chance of getting attacked. So I don’t understand what’s the big deal about taking abit of precaution? However I understand the strong reaction from girls as sometimes you just dont want to listen to any excuses.My motivation is more of being practical and helpful.

    • Hi Jay,

      I would perhaps give a fleeting thought to argument above but then, you go ahead and trivialize the entire issue by perpetuating stereotypes and assuming that just because I am a girl, I am expected to react strongly. I think you need to read my post carefully and then attempt to understand the point I made. Cheers!

    • @JayTheBuilder – Your comment is hilarious, dude. Did you even read the article above properly? What should women do exactly? Do not go into the bus, you might get raped. Do not go out at night, you might be raped. Do not go into the cab, train, auto, you might be raped. Do not stay indoors at home alone, you’ll be raped. Do not wear skimpy clothes, you’ll be raped. Do not wear covered clothes you’ll be raped. Just lock yourself in a cupboard and suffocate to death?

    • jay: i like ur name ” jay the builder”. why don’t you u build a house for urslf and stay inside it and stay away from d virtual world….chances r that stupid senseless comments like urs will not make their way to conversations and blogs of responsible and sensible people. in that way u save ur slf from vurtual accidents.

  2. Ritwika, first of all I want to say I love reading your blog – your fashion & films posts are always glamorous. Today this post has just proved that you’re not just another blogger but an intelligent girl of today. I completely agree with all your point above. People take the law judiciary system as a joke in India. Till the time the law does not make harsh punishments on crimes like rape, men will continue to assault women.

  3. Yes, great post I agree! And to add one, there are rapes, molestations, eveteasing happening everywhere in the country. Not many get reported and it’s sad. Women should have the courage to come out. They should understand that rape is not a stigma on her name or her reputation. She’s still the same lady, with the same amount of dignity. Women should not feel ashamed, it’s NOT their fault.

  4. It’s a shame that Indian men all over the world are stereotyped as rapists because of such incidents !

  5. Tiil the time we believe there is no hope to solving rape cases, rapists will continue to increase, rape cases will continue to be in the news. It’s in our hands to make the change and I completely agree that change comes from within, we can keep “PREVENTING” rape. We need to attack the cause.

  6. Hey ritz,

    Was passing by your blog and chanced upon this interesting post. Wow, it’s shocking that people in India blame the women for getting raped. And that she was asking for it. Is it the Indian patriarchal culture that emphasizes on men being the head of the family? See like you know, in Singapore, laws are so strict – rape means you are DEAD, a dead literaly. You’ll evoke no sympathy from any law. I guess Indian rapists take advantage of the fact that the law is so lenient. Anyway all I wanna say, great post & be safe, babe.

    Sam

  7. It’s such a turn off when education men and women of our generation STILL think it’s the responsibility of the women to “protect” themselves. PEOPLE, when a mishap like rape, murder, robbery happens ……….. your sensibility flies out of the door. NO matter what you do, these kind of things happen when you least expect it. Should the girl have boarded the private bus in Delhi? Should the girl have gone to Shakti mills to capture photographs? IF THEY were not raped, nobody would have said anything…. in fact the photojournalist would have been praised for her guts and nirbhaya would have reached home safely. To hell with your regressive views about teaching women what to do.

  8. Grow up… you can’t have everything perfect. If you want freedom, you should be ready to compromise on your safety. If you want freedom, then don’t blame anybody for raping you.

  9. And it is because of people like you that rapists do not stop raping.

  10. @amar And it is because of people like you that rapists do not stop raping.

  11. Ron.Chatterjee@gmail.com
    Tuesday 17 September 2013, 8:05 pm

    Woah relax man, nobody but rapist deserves the blame. Women should be treated gently, they are beautiful. You’re beautiful too. Handle with care i love women!

  12. BURN THEM ALIVE!!! RAPISTS Deserve to go through the same amount torture that they made the victims go through!

  13. I don’t see any hope for India ……..till the time the men and women don’t change your mentality.

  14. Very well written, Ritwika! I can’t imagine any valid counter arguments to this! Good job!

  15. joyal d demolisher
    Tuesday 1 October 2013, 2:28 am

    amazing post…like i said in class..make me the high command. these men should be punished so harsh that it should be exemplary. A rapist should be tortured everyday n should be kept alive. Its sad that d Indian judicial system sucks big time and we all r victims of it.

  16. […] from our side to voice our concern, disappointment, angst and anger. It’s been a year since Nirbhaya passed away. While tougher rules have been imposed, the mentality of our society has not changed. […]

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